Fishers laundry launches project to capitalise on technological innovation

Dylan Macdonaldblog

Fishers, the commercial laundry and textile rental business, has launched a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Strathclyde designed to help the company to capitalise on its innovative radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled bed linen and towels.

Fishers currently fits all of its top of the range “ZHEN” bed linen and towels with RFID technology. This enables both Fishers and its customers to keep track of all textiles – helping hotels to know precisely how much stock they are holding and letting Fishers keep tabs on where all of its RFID tagged laundry is in the washing, delivery and collection cycle. Fishers washes, dries and irons two million pieces of linen every week.

Fishers’ ZHEN range of bed linen and towels is branded as “Luxury linen with intelligence”, reflecting the added value that its RFID technology adds. The company, which is the market leader for commercial laundry and textile rental across Scotland and the North East of England, plans to investigate what other applications the technology may have in the future.

The KTP project aims to enable Fishers to:

  • Capitalise on the analysis and interpretation of the “big data” generated by its RFID tagged bed linen and towels
  • Improve Fishers’ strategic planning skills around textile purchasing
  • Improve its specification of bed linen and towel characteristics from suppliers
  • Help the company to develop the intellectual property (IP) related to its ZHEN range of textiles

The two-year project is being co-funded by a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Scottish Funding Council. The UK’s KTP programme is run by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The academic lead on the project will be Dr Aylin Ates, a lecturer in strategy at the University of Strathclyde and Director of its MSc in Project Management and Innovation. A University of Strathclyde MSc Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Systems graduate will work on the two-year project as a supply chain analyst and KTP associate on a full time basis.

Michael Jones, Managing Director of Fishers, said:

“We’re committed to innovation, both to keep our customers ahead of the game and to ensure that Fishers can continue to provide the best service possible for those customers. As the market leader in Scotland and the North East of England, it’s important that Fishers is seen to be leading the industry in the important area of RFID.

“At Fishers, we have always looked on ourselves as part of the hospitality sector rather than simply a laundry business and we are constantly refining what we do and how we do it in order to help Scotland provide the warmest welcome it can to visitors.”

Dr Aylin Ates of the University of Strathclyde, said:

“We are honoured to be collaborating in this highly innovative KTP project with our industrial partner, Fishers Services Ltd. Strathclyde Business School takes a great deal of pride in delivering impact to local businesses.

“We will be bringing our expertise to apply technological innovation to assist Fishers to move towards higher value propositions. We are looking forward to seeing the successful delivery of this project over the next two years.”